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How Christmas Trees Became a Holiday Tradition

https://time.com/5736523/history-of-christmas-trees/

time.com

How Christmas Trees Became a Holiday Tradition
How Christmas trees became a Christmas tradition—and the one image that popularized Christmas trees in the U.S.

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The Precursor To The Christmas Tree

The Precursor To The Christmas Tree

Church records from the 15th and 16th centuries show that holly and ivy were bought in the winter. Private houses were also decorated with greenery at this time.

The precursor to the Christmas tree can be seen in the pole that parishes would decorate with holly and ivy.

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The Origins of Christmas Trees

In Germany, "Paradise Plays" were performed to celebrate the feast day of Adam and Eve, which was on Christmas Eve. A tree of knowledge was represented by an evergreen fir with apples tied to its branches.

In 1419, a guild in Freiburg put up a tree decorated with apples, wafers, tinsel and gingerbread.

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The Oldest Christmas Tree Markets

The Oldest Christmas Tree Markets
  • They were in present-day France and sold unadorned Christmas trees during the 17th century.
  • The first decorated indoor tree was recorded in 1605, in Strasbourg, decorated with roses, apples, wafers and other sweets.
  • Demand for Christmas trees grew so high in the 15th century that laws were passed in Strasbourg to prevent people from cutting pine branches.
  • In the 1530s, the region of Alsace was limited to one tree per household.

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How Christmas Trees Got popular in the U.S.

  • In 1805, Moravian missionaries in America sent their Indian pupils to fetch a small green tree for Christmas. Similar examples appear in the first half of the 19th century in the Midwest and further West.
  • In 1848, an image appeared in the London News of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their children gathering around a Christmas tree, presents underneath the tree. The premier women's magazine in America reprinted a version of the image a few years later as "The Christmas Tree" which cemented the Christmas tree in the popular consciousness.

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The Artificial Christmas Tree

The Artificial Christmas Tree

In 1964, TIME magazine showcased a new Christmas trend - polyvinyl trees that looked more realistic than ever before.

Fifty years later, artificial trees still dominate the Christmas tree industry. They have a lower environmental impact when transporting them to retail outlets are factored in. But some argue that real trees support local economies.

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How the train propelled the idea of Christmas

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